For this week’s reading we had a look at the ‘online revolution’ in the local press. We did this by analysing Turning around the Tanter: Implementing Trinity Mirrors online strategy.
I have to start by saying it was no surprise to me that, like the national papers, circulation and sales figures were declining in the local print world. I personally don’t see the appeal of buying local newspapers. Most of the big stories are already covered in the national press, can be seen in a similar paper which is free or even watched on the local news.
However advertising is what is keeping this sector going. Advertising is so high that it means that actually many of the local papers are profitable. The question is: How much longer will this last for?
Companies and importantly advertisers now want multi-media content. They believe it’s essential in helping newspapers become a brand. They want to see websites with video footage, interviews, audio slideshows, podcasts etc. The problem is how is this going to be implemented successfully?
From the case studies we looked at in the reading, a strong majority of the staff that Trinity Mirror agreed that there had to be some focus on their newspapers becoming multi media. Truthfully it would be hard to argue this. People are getting use to consuming media in different ways, for local press to keep up they simply have to do this.
This is not the issue the staff had. The issue was the lack of training and resources put into becoming an online paper. Not only that but workers were unhappy that despite having to do more work they were not going to be rewarded financially for their efforts and who can blame then? To be expected to write stories for print and then use them online in a video content way is asking a lot. To do that without any extra financial incentive is even more ridiculous.
There is also the worry of the quality of journalism suffering. Video content is used heavily in entertainment and sport due to the strong visual effects, yet seem less effective in things such as politics. How are they going to strike a balance between reporting the important stories and getting good online content for the less serious issues?
One of the women from the case study said that ‘digital and video are definitely the future but we’ll need more resources to do it right’. Referring to more training and staff in order to do their jobs properly.
What I saw from this case study is a real opportunity for people who are studying journalism right now. We (I say we as I’m a student myself) don’t need to be heavily trained on how to use multimedia content because that’s what we have been doing for the last couple years.
This leads nicely to my title. If the future for journalism is online then the future for students is looking a whole lot brighter. Maybe getting a job in this industry won’t be so hard after all! What are your thoughts?